In September 2015, Allison Layton was sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison for defrauding her clients, surrogates, and egg donors. This is an interview with a 10-time egg donor who worked with her.
Once she realized she couldn’t change my mind, her cheery, friendly demeanor quickly fell. She told me I would now be responsible for paying for all of the screenings, exams, etc. and would call me back with a number. Within minutes, she called me back requesting $3400 in ten days! Ok firstly, if I had an extra $3400 laying around I wouldn’t be trying to donate in the first place.
Recently, an Ivy League egg donor and We are Egg Donors member attended one of the much-buzzed-about egg freezing “parties” held by EggBanxx at the Harvard Club of New York City. (And by “parties,” I mean a loosely factual marketing event about commercial egg freezing — complete with free booze.) Here’s her trip report. This is the first installment of our Egg Freezing series.
When my body was pumped full of hormones to stimulate my ovarian follicles — matured for the purpose of giving another woman a chance to be a mother — part of me changed as well. For the first time in my life, I had a desire to be pregnant. I started to think about carrying a child and being a mother in a very different way. Dialogue began between my wife and I and our plans for future parenthood took a different path.
Recently, I made what some would call a “bold choice” by trying to find the families who received my donated eggs. I wrote an article titled “To the Parents Raising My Eggs,” which was meant to reach out to those families and hopefully encourage them to contact me.
When I stuck to my guns about my compensation, my agency said “We’re not in the business of trying to just take money from parents.” It was a subtle accusation, but I couldn’t shake the idea that that’s exactly the business they were in. My agency would be making a lot of money off my body from a couple who could afford to pay the fee.
JoLana Talbot donated eggs anonymously because she was not offered any other option. One thing we’ve learned since starting We Are Egg Donors is that this is a pretty common experience. What is uncommon about JoLana’s story is that she got the chance to connect with her ‘donor daughter,’ Brittan, 16 years after donating eggs. Even more unusual, JoLana and Brittan met in person for the very first time on Katie Couric’s daytime television show. The episode will air Wednesday, June 11 (find your local station here). JoLana filled us in on what it was like to meet a child produced from her donations. Check it out!
I spent years abusing cocaine and marijuana to deal with severe depression, anxiety, and anorexia. I spent a month in a psychiatric hospital ten years ago, and I still take prescription mood stabilizers twice a day. My family history includes ovarian cancer, schizophrenia, autism, substance use, and obesity. But last year I was struggling to make ends meet and support a household with a salary of $30,000 in New York City. So I lied my ass off to become an egg donor.
I decided to donate my eggs for the first time last year. Once I was matched with a set of parents, I told my employer, whose staff encouraged me to write about the experience. At first, I thought my experience would make for a lighthearted Sunday feature story, but as the donation process dragged on, the story changed into something very different.
This interview is about stigma, being queer, and navigating a heteronormative medical landscape. While egg donation is presented as a simple clinical procedure, there is a lot of room for reducing stigma and acknowledging a fuller scope of, you know, how people actually feel about it. To some of us, our narratives are more complex than “wham, bam, thank you for your huevos, good job, here’s a check, you’ll be fine, good bye.”
Skyping with the Australian clinic felt contradictory. I felt extremely confused during the interview because my interviewer kept referring to my egg donation as “altruistic.” To me, “altruism” means giving a gift, in this case it would be my eggs, but I wasn’t exactly altruistic because I would be getting paid.
Communicating with my doctor was a challenge; even though he really did try his best, he didn’t understand everything I was saying. I had never donated before and I had a lot of questions. But because of the language barrier, I had a really hard time getting answers. In retrospect, it would be a lot safer for egg donors if there were a translator who could make sure that pertinent medical information is being communicated, both ways.
I needed 5 extensive surgeries over a very short time period. I was extremely sick, and every doctor I saw was exasperated by how aggressive my case was. I went from being 100% healthy, to having one of the worst cases of endometriosis that even some of the top specialists had ever seen – and that all started within 6 months of donating my eggs.
I felt like I had to sell myself. Saying the things although true are what people want to hear. It’s worse than a blind date. Specifically the motivation question — Why did you choose to be a donor? — I was specifically told not to say “financial incentive.” Which I think is most donors motivation. I feel like when you are looking for a life partner you are looking at the person as a whole, flaws and all, and I feel like this selection process should be treated the same.